Saturday, August 24, 2013

What this month has turned into.

I haven't posted here in a few weeks, but I have been keeping up on my resolutions (except for a few days when I went out of town).

At first, my resolutions were easy, in contrast to last month. I actually found my goals to be, in a way, liberating--a breath of fresh air. I loved reading scriptures every day and trying to enjoy days filled with the Spirit.

But after my trip, when I allowed myself to relax on the resolutions and enjoy time with my family, I've had a difficult time getting back into it. In a way, this month has become more about discipline and obedience than spirituality. I've had to really push myself to read scriptures and write every day. But you know what? I've been doing it. For the past few days, I've been able to put a check mark on each resolution, each day. And that feels great.

At first, I was a little upset with myself for how half-hearted I felt about everything. I wanted this month to be extra-spiritual, and instead I've found even a few minutes of scripture reading to be difficult. Why is it so hard? But even though it hasn't gotten that much easier (yet), I've realized that it's okay if this month is not necessarily "extra spiritual." (What exactly would that look like, anyway?) What's important is that I'm doing the things that I know are right and that I know will make me happier in the long run. And if I can do it when I'm not feeling it, it will only become easier and easier. Eventually, it will become a habit, and that's really what I wanted to accomplish this month. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue having the discipline to do the things I want to do.

Friday, August 2, 2013

August Resolutions

For the month of August, I've decided to focus on Spirituality. I'm a deeply religious person (which anyone reading this probably already knows), and I knew going into this that coming closer to God and Christ would be vital to my happiness. But I feel like I learned this more during my Body month as well. I realized that even a good goal can turn into a monster if I'm not guided by the Spirit. I had to be really careful when focusing on improving my body that I didn't start hating myself if I messed up.

I meant to post my Personal Commandments on my wall next to my Resolutions Chart at the beginning of last month, but it never ended up happening. I just did it a couple days ago, and it has really made a difference! If I don't see them every day, I just don't think about them, and I've realized how important they are to my happiness project. I discovered that several of my commandments focus on accepting and loving myself, and being okay when I make mistakes. "Be Me." "Change what you can, accept what you can't." "You can't be perfect, just be better." "Enjoy failure." I didn't always do a good job of remembering all these things last month, but this month I want to do better. It's OKAY to be inadequate. In fact, inadequate people are the ones that Christ loves the most. I'm not going to get help unless I recognize how much I need it and humbly ask for it.

So with that in mind as I start my month of Spirituality, here are my resolutions:

1. Increase daily, meaningful religious study.
2. Pray more meaningfully.
3. Write every day.

The first resolution (increase daily, meaningful religious study) is a crucial resolution, especially in light of the fact that I'm not too proud of how lax I've been toward daily scripture study. I've decided to mean this to include anything that I consider "religious." That could mean Anne Lammott's Help, Thanks, Wow or a Church magazine or the scriptures or Church manuals or anything, as long as I feel spiritually enriched by it. (But I do want to spend time in the scriptures every day, even if it's just a few minutes.)

The second resolution (pray more meaningfully) is near and dear to my heart. I have always prayed. I've rarely ever been so mad at God or mad at myself that I won't pray. But my big praying weakness is getting too repetitive, saying the same things day after day, or not really meaning what I say. I feel that if I'm not involved in my prayer--if I'm just "getting it over with" or going through it like a habit--then I might as well not pray at all. This month, I'm going to just let myself pray however I want to, even if it doesn't feel "real" or "respectful" (that is, what I've been led to believe by others is "real" or "respectful"). I want to do whatever it takes to get spiritually and emotionally involved in prayer--every single day, not just every once in a while.

The third resolution (write every day) actually only got added to the list a few days ago, when I realized how important it is for me to write. It actually lets me see into my soul, discover new things about myself, and makes me think more deeply. However, this doesn't include just any writing. Here's the list of exclusions: academic writing, writing on my book blog, writing emails or other such emotionally detached writing. I want this writing to actually deepen my understanding of myself. So some of my options would be journal writing, writing on this blog, writing on my writing blog, writing for my creative writing class, or any kind of creative writing. Writing is so important to my understanding of myself.

So, there are my resolutions for this month. I don't have as many as I did last month, but that's okay. I'm hoping that my focus on spirituality will also lead to other things I can do to improve in that area, not just these daily goals. I originally had more resolutions written down, but I whittled it down to these three so I could keep it narrowly focused.

It's going to be a great month!